South Africa Denies Black Teen Skier a Place at Olympics in Sochi

Sive Speelman qualified for the Winter Games but his government will not let him compete.

Posted: 01/24/2014 12:05 PM EST

The South African government said Thursday Sive Speelman, known as a skiing phenomenon in his home country, isn't good enough to compete in the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The IOC and international skiing federation offered him a place but South African officials declined Thursday to send him, according to Associated Press. Some citizens are criticizing this decision to kill Sive's dreams, and have started campaigns to challenge the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee

''What a sad day. Sive Speelman qualified to compete at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, but SASCOC has denied him the opportunity to race and raise South Africa's flag,'' Alex Heath, a three-time Winter Olympian from South Africa and Speelman's coach, wrote on his Facebook page. ''It is an embarrassment to sport and the Olympic ideals.''

Speelman would have been the only contender in the Winter Games representing South Africa. The teen is from a mountainous region in the Eastern Cape province, one of the few places in the country where snow falls. He developed his skills at his school, which offered skiing as a sport. 


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Follow Natelege Whaley on Twitter: @Natelege.

(Photo: REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler)

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